This resource package is designed in conjuction with the Australian Curriculum - Digital Technologies strand for Years 5/6 and addresses the following descriptors:
Digital Technologies processes and production skills (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014b)
Elaboration: experimenting with different ways of representing an instruction to make a choice, for example branches in a tree diagram or using an ‘IF’ statement (a common statement used to branch) to indicate making a choice between two different circumstances using a spreadsheet or a visual program
Digital Technologies knowledge and understanding (ACARA, 2014b)
Elaboration: investigating how the internal and external components of digital systems are coordinated to handle data, for example how a keyboard, central processing unit and screen work together to accept, manipulate and present data and information
To implement this webquest, all students (or pairs) must have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection. It is expected that students will have extensive computer experience from a combination of prior schooling and their home life which will allow them to efficiently engage with online resources. This resource targets the key idea of computational thinking of the Australian Curriculum as students problem solve an authentic theme, necessitating the need for them to implement strategies in planning and creating appropriate algorithms under set preconditions (ACARA, 2014c). Students will also address the key idea of design thinking when they write precise instructions for manipulating computer objects through mazes, test their sequences and modify solutions (ACARA, 2014c).
The developed webquest also contributes to the cross curriculum priority of sustainability as it is themed around exploration of an ecological system in space - something that advancing technologies will continue to study. As students are graded on how well they can manouvre the rover around geological objects, they learn the importance of protecting environments for the future (ACARA, 2014a). General capabilities in ICT are also developed through interaction with online multimodal programs which is important as young people need to be highly skilled in using, sharing and communicating via ICT in this digital age (Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians [MCEETYA], 2008)
The webquest is designed to take up a short unit (4 lessons), however, it can be further elaborated on to become part of a sequence of work or even an integrated technology and science unit on space exploration. A Lego mindstorm kit can also accompany the resource and make the experience more authentic for students. Students' finished scratch codes can be downloaded on to the mindstorm kit and a real identical obstacle course can be set up in the classroom, where the lego mindstorm tries to negotiate the track using students' scratch codes. Students can then explore and describe how these digital systems connect. However, if this is unavailable then the resource can stand alone and teach students valuable programming skills.
Teachers should familiarise themselves with the links before implementing this resource into the classroom. Coding can be difficult for students - even in building block sequences, so teachers will most likely need to assist students and answer questions about the programs. When the role of supervisor is mentioned in the Webquest, it is refering to the teacher. A rubric has been provided based on students knowledge of programing and how well it has been implemented. The teacher/school should also ensure that students have permission from parents to create Scratch accounts in order to complete the activity.
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